President Joe Biden approved a limited TikTok ban on Thursday. When he signed the 4,126-page spending bill into law. The ban prohibits 4 million employees of. The federal government from using TikTok on devices owned by. Its agencies. With limited exceptions for law enforcement, national security and security research purposes.
The ban comes after a wave of moves against. The viral video app in recent weeks amid growing security concerns raised by. Media reports, China hawks and politicians. Given the growing scrutiny of TikTok, owned by . Chinese company ByteDance. This could be the beginning of the challenges ahead for the app.
The renewed pressure on the app under the Biden administration comes two years after. Then-President Donald Trump’s proposed ban was halted in court.
As of 2020, a bubbling movement led by conservatives has maintained. little interest in a TikTok ban.
That its staff had tracked the locations of . Three of the magazine’s journalists, using methods. That Forbes said amounted to espionage. .
Insiders said the incident contributed to growing skepticism toward the app. Prompting new bans in the United States and at universities.
Megan Stifel, a former national security official at. The Justice Department, said. the incident will make it harder for TikTok to show it handles data . TikTok and the Biden administration. Along with the Justice. Department, are locked in negotiations over a proposed security deal. that would put the company on a more stable footing.
“, it gives the DOJ more leverage to say. Look the record is not positive,'” said Stiefel . Now chief strategy officer at the Institute for Security and Technology, a think tank.
TikTok on Friday slammed new restrictions on its app to federal agencies.
“We are disappointed. That Congress has moved to ban TikTok on government devices — a political gesture. That will do nothing to advance national security interests — instead of encouraging . The administration to complete its national security review. The company said in a statement.
It added that the proposed security deal with . The Biden administration would address the security concerns of lawmakers and regulators.
“These plans have been developed under the supervision of our. Nation’s top national security agencies — plans . We are well on our way to implementing — to further secure our platform in the United States. And we will continue to brief lawmakers about them,” TikTok said.
Under pressure from lawmakers and regulators. The company reshuffled its staff in early. December to create a new US-based team for trust and security issues. The aim was to “build more trust and confidence in the protection of US user data and consent,” it said in a blog post.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
TikTok has been the target of many government and institutional sanctions in . the past month. The House on Monday banned it from any work mobile phone. At the state level, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican. Banned it on state phones and computers, as did a dozen Republican-led states. Including Alabama, Georgia and Virginia.
And some state restrictions apply not only to state government employees. such as. The University of Oklahoma and Auburn University in Alabama — part of TikTok’s core user base in the US.
According to national security analysts and technology policy advocates. The wave of bans could be the beginning of the challenges. That TikTok could be looking at in the next year. An actual US ban of the app for all citizens is still unlikely and may be ineffective. But critics of the app are still vowing to fight back.
“I have serious concerns about any app . That is vulnerable to Americans’ personal data and information. And has deep ties to China,” Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said in a statement to NBC News. He is one of several Republican senators pushing TikTok for more information.
“We need clear answers to TikTok’s data sharing policies and make sure. The platform is held accountable for its practices,” he said.
In early December, top House Republicans. Some of whom will likely lead House committees next year. Wrote a letter demanding a meeting with TikTok CEO Shou Ji Chiu. Citing an earlier Forbes investigation into how . The app handles child sexual exploitation reports.
It is not clear whether the meeting took place. A spokesman for the Republican group did not immediately respond to. A request for comment and did not respond to a question about. The TikTok meeting claim.
The congressional hearings will serve several purposes, said Joel Thayer, president of. The Digital Progress Institute, an advocacy group on technology and telecommunications. He said the hearing would raise public awareness, get witnesses on. The record and lay the groundwork for possible future legislation.
“If I were to put it out there. I would want as much of the record as. Possible to justify a drastic action like banning a company from our market,” he said. He wrote in support of restrictions on TikTok.
He said he expects Republicans to introduce legislation. That would must an agency like the Federal. Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission to step up. Its privacy review of TikTok.
“How far are they willing to go beyond banning it from government devices?” she said. “President Biden wants to keep TikTok on the market.“
Biden didn’t elaborate on hat TikTok should be. The White House with eight TikTok influencers on voter. Participation efforts ahead of the midterm elections. The Washington Post reported.
On the House side, there’s no shortage of incoming committee chairs who want to take on Tiktok. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said. He plans to create a select committee on China led by Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin. A former Marine counterintelligence officer.
. The committee will look at,” Gallagher’s office said in a statement to NBC News.
Gallagher has sponsored a bill to ban TikTok from operating in the United States. And in a statement this month about surveillance by Forbes reporters. He called TikTok “CCP-controlled spyware,” referring to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
The US military banned TikTok on its devices three years ago. Wells Fargo did the same in 2020 for its devices.
Stifel, a former Justice Department official. Said the kind of restrictions that have spread among government employees. May not be as effective as TikTok’s critics hope.
“The ability to really wall it off is, at the end of the day, probably pretty remote,” he said. “We can ban it on official devices. Organizations may decide to ban it.
It’s possible that. Some of Congress’s anti-TikTok energy could be channeled into broader legislation. There has been a year-long effort to write a comprehensive. Nationwide data protection law that would cover Americans’ data not only from foreign companies, but also from US tech giants.
“We don’t have a credible public approach to data privacy in America today,” said Vilas Dhar. President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, a grant-making organization focused on. The social impact of technology.
“It means the American people are interacting with potential. Threats to their privacy every day, and we don’t have a regulatory system in place to respond to it,” he said.